As LO37 (1889-95), courtesy of Robert Kettle

Thanks to Barry Banham for his identification under her LO registration

Official No:  86390   Port Number and Year: Lowestoft, 1885 (LT77)

                                                                             London, 1889 (LO37)

Description: Iron built carrier/beam trawler. Ketch rigged: foresail, mainsail and mizzen


Built: 1883: by Baltic Iron Works, Hull

Tonnage: 127.34 grt  59.31 net

Length / breadth / depth (feet): 98.7 / 21.8 / 10.2

Engine: C.2-cyl 45 hp; by Wood Bros, Sowerby Bridge


Jun 1883: Joseph Cradock, Stockton on Tees.


Aug 1884:  Joseph Craddock & Frederick Morgan Brocklebank (gent.), 7 Nicholas Lane, London EC.

28 Aug1884: Registered at Stockton.

12 Feb 1885: Refitted for trawling, as LT77 (Mar 1885)

Mar 1885: Frederick Morgan Brocklebank (gent.), 10 Belgrave Terrace, Lee, Kent

Manager: Henry George Jones, Lowestoft.


1 Jan 1889: As LO37.

19 Feb 1890: London Trawlers Ltd, 12 Old Broad Street, London.  

Manager: Peter Hancock, Milford.


[The above information was supplied by Roger Griffiths, Barry Banham and Gil Mayes.]

Landed at Milford:  27 Sep 1888 - 8 Dec 1893.  (May have landed earlier at Neyland - see Aug 1888 newspaper report below.)

Skippers: T. J. Wales; Gray; Henry Dove; Bromley; Walter Aldridge


Sybil (a perverted spelling of 'Sibyl').  In classical mythology a prophetess, especially of Apollo; as the first vessel to enter Milford Dock, she was as prophetic for the future of Milford.

15 Mar 1885: Sailed Hull after refit for fishing grounds.

22 Mar 1885: Arrived Lowestoft.

12 Mar 1887: A page from a notebook was found inside a bottle, cut from a ling which was landed from the SYBIL in Aberdeen, with the following message: "The schooner Anna, of Bangor, in a sinking state.  My men 'as given up all hopes, abandoned.  Writing this dear wife, if it should reach shore, know what has become of your darling Willie. God bless you."  On the reverse was written, "January 24, 1886.  Dreadful storm, both masts gone.  Ship waterlogged.  Goodbye, dear wife, for ever.  From your loving husband, Wm. Jenson."  [Pall Mall Gazette, Monday 14th March 1887.  (The same report was published in may other newspapers, without any confirmation of such a loss.  See the The Times' comments on the trustworthiness of messages in a bottle, quoted on the HIROSE M47 page.)]

31 Mar 1888:  Grounded on the bar at the entrance of Aberdeen Harbour, when leaving for the fishing grounds under Captain Wells.  The tug GRANITE CITY towed her to a berth near the dock gates.  Damage slight, with no leaks.  [Aberdeen Weekly Journal, Monday 2nd April 1888.]

27 Sep 1888: First vessel to enter newly opened Milford Docks, under Skipper Thomas James Wales.

Feb 1890:  Involved in salvage of ADMIRAL [See story below.]

Dec 1893: Stranded on Irish coast (Sk. J. Wooldridge). Crew rescued by rocket apparatus at Templetown Cove.


Fate: 3 Oct 1895: London registry closed; vessel sold to German owners.

 Accidents and Incidents


From The Pembrokeshire Herald and General Advertiser of Friday 17th August 1888:


INQUESTS.- On Wednesday, the 8th inst., James Price, Esq., Coroner for the Lower Division of Pembrokeshire, held an inquest at the South Wales Hotel, Neyland, touching the death of Thomas Browning. Deceased was mate on the steam trawler, Sybil, and is supposed to have fallen off the fish stage in going aboard his vessel about 11.30 p.m. on the night of the 6th inst. The jury returned a verdict of accidentally drowned.



From The Pembrokeshire Herald and General Advertiser of Friday 5th July 1889:




The Master also reported that the Capt. of the steam trawler, 'Sybil,' had sent two boxes of fish for the use of the inmates.


    The Clerk stated that the gift of fish was made by Capt. Gray, who owned the steam trawler, and had also offered to send fish for the use of the inmates. The fish was received, and a fisherman, an inmate of the house, had shown how the fish should be prepared for use. It was resolved to thank Capt. Gray for his kindness to the inmates.



 From Haverfordwest and Milford Haven Telegraph of Wednesday 4th January 1899


Milford Haven Fishing Industry.


    Recognising that the fishing industry and the tradesmen of the town should have interests more in common with each other a few of the captains of the steam trawlers and fish merchants, with the assistance of Mr Edwards, formed themselves into a Committee, and gave a Banquet at the Lord Nelson Hotel on Thursday evening. ...............


    Mr Edwards said he came there in February 1888, and then the steam trawler Sybil, captained by Mr Wales, was the only one of that class. They had no market, ice market, or buyers, but since that time they had had an ice market built, and the ice was as cheap as they could expect it. Since that time they had seen a remarkable expansion in the fish trawling industry. During the last ten years in Hull and Grimsby there had been keen competition, and the old class of vessels had to be sold for the newer and more speedy vessels. Grimsby had about 1,000 sail of vessels ten years ago, but to-day there were only 300 owing to the steam trawlers having made such a great increase. He would be a very bold man who could estimate the limit of fish this country was able to take. The trade in Milford had expanded, and given proper facilities by the Dock and Railway Companies the town would come second to no port.  Milford Harbour was second to none, and the Dock was a decent one, considering it was not built for the fishing trade. (Applause). Milford was a long way removed from the consuming centres of fish, and the merchants had to provide for the extra railway charge. If the railway company could reduce the charges it would enable the merchants to give a higher price for the fish. (Applause). If a better system of training the crews were adopted they would have splendid crews to man the vessels. He referred now to the apprenticeship system, and ten years were not too long for them to learn their trade. (Applause). In this respect Milford suffered in comparison with Grimsby and Hull. He was pleased with that gathering, as it tended to create harmony and good feeling. .................



Note of Protest, Monday 10th February 1890 :


Note of Protest by Captain Thomas James Wales, master of the steam trawler "Sybil", port of registry London.

    On the eighth instant at seven-forty am, we left this port of Milford Haven with the vessel being in charge of Skipper T. J. Wales, bound for and through the Irish Sea to the fishing grounds.

    That at one-forty pm, when about seventeen miles northwest of the St. Ann's Lighthouse, he sighted a steamer flying signals of distress, and he steamed up to her and he spoke to the skipper and boarded her.  He was told by the master of the "Admiral" that the machinery was so much damaged that he would require his assistance to tow his vessel into port.  He then sent his own engineer on board the "Admiral", and asked the engineer of the "Admiral" if the engines could be repaired in any manner so that she would be able to get into port under her own power without assistance.  They were told that it was impossible for anything to be done at sea.  He then asked the master of the "Admiral" if it was possible to get his vessel into port without their assistance, as he preferred to proceed to the fishing grounds, and the master of the "Admiral" replied "We cannot get into port without you.  You must tow my vessel in.  My ship is not carrying any sails."

    The weather being fine at the time preparations were made for towing, and the "Sybil" having passed her tow rope, and having taken the "Admiral's" tow rope, at two-twenty am, they proceeded to tow the vessel. The wind freshened from the south-east to a gale with a high sea, and at three-thirty am, the tow rope parted and a new tow ropes were taken on board again with some risks as both vessels were rolling heavily at the time, but no damage was sustained by either of the said vessels, and we proceeded again towing towards Milford Haven, the wind blowing very heavily the whole distance ,and at eight am, we arrived at the Docks at Milford Haven.


Thomas James Wales.




As LT77 (1885-88).  From a local newspaper cutting in the Les Jones Archive.



As LO37 (1889-93), alongside below Victoria Road, leading up to Front Street (Hamilton Terrace).

Courtesy of Robert Kettle



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